Vietnam’s Ministry of Transport breaks its promise again, failing to operate Cat Linh-Ha Dong elevated train before 13th Party National Congress

An elevated train of Cat Linh-Ha Dong route in the testing period – 2019

The Cat Linh-Ha Dong elevated railway line in Hanoi will not be put into commercial operation before the 13th National Congress of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV), which will take place in the remaining days of January 2021, the Ministry of Transport said on January 20, according to reports of the state-controlled newspapers VOV, An Ninh Thu and Soha.

Nearly 3 months ago, on October 28, 2020, Minister of Transportation Nguyen Van The pledged in a meeting with Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc that his ministry would try its best to bring the Cat Linh-Ha Dong project to operates commercially before the Party Congress.

Deputy Minister Nguyen Ngoc Dong said on the afternoon of January 20, 2021, to the press that because the related parties have not completed the procedures, the Cat Linh-Ha Dong elevated train could not be handed over and exploited before the 13th National Congress.

Providing more details, Deputy Minister Dong said: “There are currently no evaluation reports on the results of the test operation. The Project Management Unit and the Ministry of Transport is still working with the Chinese general contractor and French advice on document delivery to complete the review,” reported newspapers.

Still, domestic newspapers citing information from the Ministry of Transport, said that the PM has recently issued written approval for the adjustment of the progress of the Cat Linh-Ha Dong project until March 31, 2021.

The elevated railway project mentioned above was started in October 2011, nearly 10 years ago. However, up to now, with 3 different ministers in power, the project has not been officially put into commercial exploitation, serving the public, causing many disappointments and discontent in public opinion, according to VOA.

In addition, as VOA reported, Vietnamese people are also outraged by the terrible investment situation of the project, when the total initial investment was set at VND8.77 trillion ($553 million) but jumped to VND18 trillion in 2019, according to the Vietnam Audit.

Of the total amount mentioned above, Vietnam had to borrow from China up to nearly $669 million.

Rubbish and broken at stations of Cat Linh-Ha Dong route, March 2019

A report from the Dan Viet website published in December 2020 states that Minister of Transport Nguyen Van The made an error 8 times about bringing the Cat Linh-Ha Dong route into operation, and with the fact that this line could not be declared.

Commenting on the fact that the Ministry of Transport has once again broken its promise, Mr. Hoang Dung, who is widely known online for his critical social articles, commented on his personal Facebook page that the Cat Linh-Ha Dong elevated train “has become a disgrace to the communist party, a scar on the face of Hanoi capital.”

The state-controlled media said that so far the project stakeholders have finished their test operation, with 5,700 trains running more than 70,000 km on the route.

The articles published on January 20 quoted Deputy Director of Project Management Board Mr. Nguyen Khanh Tung as saying that the project was delayed due to the general contractor, supervision consultant, and system safety assessment consultant as they are impossible to send their staff to Vietnam to perform the remaining tasks during the first 6 months of 2020 when the Covid-19 pandemic broke.

Mr. Tung added that some remaining problems related to the package contract performance and the conclusion of the State Audit also delayed the project implementation progress, but he did not provide additional details. (Translated)


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